Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WEP The End is the Beginning December Challenge

From Write ... Edit ... Publish, the End is the Beginning December Challenge: 

I went with a non-fiction reflection this last year and my hope for 2018.

Everyone has endings and beginnings. At times, we think we are at the end of ourselves. We may think, "this is it. I can't go further. I'm done. It's over. I have no more energy, courage, or creativity to give." But, the next day dawns, and we wiggle our toes. It isn't much. It isn't a marathon, but it's a start. Then, we take a step. Then, another. It's nothing profound. It just is. We find ourselves at a new beginning. It isn't an easy beginning. We may start this new beginning with regrets from past endings. We may start it with the baggage of pain or shame. We may start it with extra weight, literal, metaphorical, or both. But, what matters is that we start, even sometimes after we thought we gave up everything, even hope. The hope is still there, somehow. We don't even know how it made it through the hell, whatever that hell was, but the hope is still there, shining.

From my perspective, that little light still shining is the reason for the star over Bethlehem. From my experience this year, after a hell of physical illness, surgery, pain, and exhaustion which clouded my mind, I didn't know I was still clinging to any hope at all, but it was still there. Nothing could extinguish it. I still had the hope of Jesus inside of me, pushing me out of bed ... even if I didn't get out of bed until noon and had only enough energy to stay awake until 4 p.m. I was cranky and didn't want to pray, but I did anyway. Some of those prayers were more of a "Why, oh, why have you forsaken me" kind of prayers instead of "Enter His courts with Thanksgiving" kind of prayers, but I prayed anyway, despite myself. I kept getting up, taking small steps to recovery, for months barely making it down the hallway, and then barely to the back deck, and then barely to the end of the long, gravel driveway (who knew it could feel so long), and finally nine months after the pain started, I went on a three mile hike in Montana, huffing and puffing as the slowest family member up the hill, but I cried tears of joy when I made it to the top. I am alive and glad to be alive. I am still not in good shape, but my doctors have reminded me to be gentle with myself - to rejoice in five pounds lost by the end of the year and to be glad that I have a chance to recover from illness and the two surgeries which were only five weeks apart, not to mention the five biopsies and other medical tests and procedures which took place. I still have health issues. I still have doctor's appointments. But, I am breathing, I can exercise, and I get to hug my family. These are the basics that matter as I end this year and look to the beginning of next one.

The crazy part is, I was afraid to dream for a while. I was afraid to make plans for my writing, ashamed of how much I hadn't finished. Then, I started writing short stories and poems, and I started planning an epic series. I made one of my goals for December: to think of 6 Impossible Things Before Breakfast. And, I've been dreaming big for 2018 and beyond. I'm not afraid of dreaming anymore because I have remembered to focus on the hope that is within. I have hope and my hope has made me strong. I am ready to begin again, and again, and again. I'm ending 2017 and beginning 2018 with hope.

This next part isn't for the WEP Challenge, it's for all of my readers who have read/purchased my Summer Vacation Devotions book. This video is of Peace Rehabilitation Center. It's where I send all of the money I make from the Summer Vacation Devotions book (plus, a little more from me). These ladies know what it means to begin again. For a newer video, go here:

Monday, December 18, 2017

The IWSG is on Instagram!

So, I sent out an idea to Alex J. Cavanaugh, fearless leader and founder of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and it turns out that the IWSG administrators were thinking something along similar lines.

So, now ... The IWSG is on Instagram!!!

Plus, I get to be an Administrator!


This means I get to volunteer with an encouraging team of amazing writers and leaders!

If you have an Instagram account, please go to The IWSG and follow.

For the rest of 2017, please consider tagging The IWSG on instagram for writing-related posts.

The first "challenge" for The IWSG on instagram is: Post one to three pictures of something that inspires your writing. It doesn't have to be professional photography level. Let's share and encourage each other on instagram! (Please tag TheIWSG in your posts).

Look forward to more IWSG-inspired instagram challenges in January 2018.

The IWSG on Instagram - click here! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#TheIWSG December 2017

I do try to be mindful on IWSG day about my word count, but this post ended up going long with my tale of surviving NaNoWriMo 2017. If needed, just hit the bold spots and run to the next blog before I suck you in with my navel/novel gazing thought process. 

So, on November 23rd with only 21,000 words to my NaNo novel, I realized I was going to have to tackle things differently than I had planned. I decided to write the novel and write about writing the novel to reach my 50,000 word goal.

It technically might not be considered winning NaNoWriMo in the most traditional sense, or maybe even any sense. But I consider myself a winner and even bought the t-shirt because I made a decision to honor my real writing style, the thing that works for me. Plus, I did write over 50,000 words in November all in or about The Greenling Chronicles.

I am a plantster (writing by the seat of my pants and outlining) and I "planst" while I'm writing a novel. I write notes to myself about the progress. I change the outline and expand it while I'm mid-stream. If I don't do this, I lose focus, momentum, and the story.

If I plot everything out first, then I get bored and I don't finish. Or, I just ignore the plot and create a giant mess.

If I completely write by the seat of my pants for anything longer than a 5,000 word short story, I forget character names, make world-building mistakes, and struggle with a complete chaos. Two of my previous NaNo novels have strong chaos elements. Sometimes, chaos writing can be fun. Sometimes, it just gives me a sense of helpless failure. I really felt the need for an epic background outline for this NaNo and I wrote it before and during the month of November, alongside the novel. I'm actually still working on it. 

Part of the necessity of a massive background outline arises from the fact that I am writing Book 2 of a series and Book 1 (written in the spring) had some serious chaos elements and unanswered questions.  I'm determined to finish the entire series before I call any of the books finished. I want the plot to be paced correctly throughout the series and I want the foreshadowing elements to work. Plus, I want to utilize some over-arcing metaphors and imagery.

I really want to have something ready for the IWSG Pitch day in January, but I'm pretty sure I won't. Unless, pigs fly. So, for now, I am mid-project(s) and I think I'll be there for a long while even though I've been here for a while (since early 2016). If I self-pub anything in the next year, it will be writing prompt related or a short story collection or ... something small. Querying is going to be out of the picture until mid to late 2018 or even 2019. It's hard to admit that to myself, or to share it with anyone else, but that's just where I'm at. I'm drafting. Word after a word after a word. (And then, some notes about those words.)

And, in case anyone still wonders about my Captain Wrath novel, it has some of those chaos elements, and it turns out that Ben Cranston (Aka: Warren Wrath) lives in the same universe as The Greenling Chronicles, just a few hundred years later. So, I haven't given up on him yet. He's just waiting his turn (orbiting in his space cruiser) with all of his buddies: dwarves, dryadarians, shape-shifters, leprechanarians, and glowers (will-o-wisps with attitude). For more information (teasers) about the universe of The Greenling Chronicles and The Captain Wrath novel(s), stay tuned for IWSG January. 

I may post one or two posts this month or I may just see you all in 2018! (Feeling Indecisive Today)

And, lastly, but actually of most importance, I want to thank Alex J. Cavanaugh, the co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!
and all those who make the Insecure Writer's Support Group awesome - at the website, on facebook, at twitter, at the newsletter, and on Goodreads.
Go, IWSG!!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

5 Things to Do to Get Published by Tara Tyler #Disposaltour

5 Things to Do to Get Published

Don't get your hopes up, there's no easy secret plan to getting published - well, there is and anyone can do it these days, but only true, dedicated writers won't cut corners to be published. Real writers put blood, sweat, tears, and laughter not only into their books, but also into their efforts to have it published.

And so, here is my list of 5 Things to Do to Get Published:
  1. Tell a fantastic story! Write it down with flair.
  2. Research and edit to make it even better - listen to advice, criticism, but most importantly your heart.
  3. Condense your magnificent story into two succinct paragraphs that will lure readers to want to find out what happens in the book. A query. This you will send to hungry agents after you find out who has an appetite for your genre.
  4. Don't give up. This is the most important step. Rejections and lack of responses will make you depressed, weepy, doubt yourself, and want to quit. You have to keep at it. Keep busy, keep writing, keep submitting.
  5. Eventually, you will be ready. A wonderful situation will present itself and you'll get published! But that's when the real work begins - marketing and putting yourself out there to sell it!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

KINDLE <=> Paperback (coming soon)

About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Book One           Book Two

To celebrate, you can take Tara Tyler's SURVEY- which will automatically enter you for a PRIZE! Drawing and winners announced on December 15th.

Thanks so much to Tyrean for hosting and supporting me - she's been a great friend for many years now. Hard to believe it's been so long! (You are so welcome, Tara!!!)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Disposal Release Day! Tara Tyler Rocks!

DISPOSAL has arrived!!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

KINDLE <=> Paperback (coming soon)

About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Pop Travel & Simulation - The Cooper Chronicles
Broken Branch Falls & Cradle Rock - Beast World fantasy series

To celebrate, you can take Tara Tyler's SURVEY- which will automatically enter you for a PRIZE!

Here is the DISPOSAL blog tour schedule:

FRI, NOV 17 - Tyrean Martinson - 5 Things that will get you published!
MON, NOV 20 - Christine Rains - The Lazy Housewife talks Garage Goals
THU, NOV 23 - Juneta Key - I'm Thankful for where I am

MON, NOV 27 - Patricia Lynne -
THU, NOV 30 - Diane Burton - The Lazy Housewife talks Bathroom Blues

WED, DEC 6 - MJ Fifield - Special IWSG: Will anyone like me? Will anyone care?
FRI, DEC 8 - Elizabeth Seckman - The Journey of the Really Real Housewives

MON, DEC 11 - C. Lee McKenzie -

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November IWSG and Duotrope Insights

Happy IWSG Day! Many thanks to Alex and all of the co-hosts and admins for keeping this encouraging group together!
The awesome co-hosts today are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

I have a host of insecurities. This last month, I had a tough time getting any goals done. I struggled to write, to exercise, to learn how to use a new tool - Dragon Naturally Speaking (a fancypants talk-to-text program). 
In the midst of all of that, I made a crazy decision to sign up for NaNoWriMo to write a draft of The Greenling Chronicles, book 2: Ancient Truth.
In October, I did some crazy, hand-written plotting for the entire series and had some wee morning hours working on world-building questions that I never answered properly in book 1 (it still needs revision) and had a "brilliant" idea on how to use foreshadowing. So, I think I'm ready. 

Here's my blurb for the book that I have up at NaNoWriMo:
Delving deeper into what it means to have superpowers, Dunnie and his friends discover more layers to the underworld of what they call "Supers" and the adults call "Mythfaeri." It turns out that neither term is truly correct when Dunnie meets an Ancient, who attempts to set him on the "right" path.

Best wishes to all NaNo writers and all non-NaNo writers this month!

Duotrope Report:
I used a trial version of Duotrope for a short time and then I signed on for the whole package as a writer. What this gives me and my thoughts on it:

1. A way of tracking submissions beyond my own word document method. The submissions tracker is nice because it helps me see immediately which of my stories has been submitted multiple times, how many times, and what my rate of success is for each individual story and for all of my submissions overall. 

2. A weekly newsletter highlighting newly opened and newly closed markets for writing submissions for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. When I first used Duotrope, I would scan this newsletter the day it came and get ideas for stories and submissions. I stopped doing that last year when I was sick and I've just started checking it again. 

3. An easy-to-use search engine for markets, which includes markets for short stories, poetry, non-fiction articles, and some book publishers. This is my favorite part of Duotrope. I can search out specific markets for specific genres, word count length, and other areas. Duotrope expanded the search engine and market base to include artists and photographers in 2017.

4. A way to make note of markets which have slow response rates. Duotrope likes to know how quickly markets respond to authors and uses this data for the writer's benefit. I know which markets take six months to respond because Duotrope has a record. However, the accuracy is based on writer's reporting so these dates can have some fault in them. Duotrope also recommends when a writer should simply retract their submission if the market has taken too long to respond.

So, have I been happy with Duotrope? Yes, as long as I use it, it works for me. It does cost money, but the story sales "repaid" my membership fee. I would love to say that I'm earning oodles of money, but I'm not. However, I haven't used it as frequently in 2017, so it takes use to make it worthwhile.

If you want to check it out, go here: Duotrope. I think there's still a free trial offered.

What are your insecurities this month? Have you used any writing services that you found useful, enjoyable, or good?

I love Insecure Writer's Support Group and the amazing tips and services that IWSG offers to all writers for absolutely FREE at the website and in our group. Writers coming together to encourage, to make our work easier, to share insights, and to overcome our insecurities - these writers (you, me, we) make IWSG awesome! (With special thanks to Alex and all of the Admin Team!)

If you want to sign the blog hop, go here: Sign Up!
If you want to see the website, go here: Insecure Writer's Support Group Website.
Facebook Page

Friday, October 27, 2017

Goals and National Tell a Story Day

Today is National Tell a Story Day ... in Scotland and the UK.

I'm only partly Scottish, but let's just go with it, okay?
(I'll post again in April for the US National Tell a Story Day)
Scroll down for that part of the post. First, let's look at my goals.

Um, I didn't post what my actual goals for October were at the end of September, but here they are:

1. Look for a job. (In addition to independent teaching one day a week). I applied for substitute teaching in one school district and waited.
2. Write 30 minutes each day. On average - yes, especially if you count materials for my students, a letter to the editor, and a non-fiction project that I might/might not be sending out into the universe for Betas next month. Stay tuned if you are interested in non-fiction, Christian Thanksgiving-based material and would be willing to read.
3. Work on Biblical Storytelling. - um, once.
4. Teach classes. - Yes!
5. Encourage my family and friends. Tried.
6. Walk every day. - nope, but four times a week.
7. Revise/continue various writing projects - 30 minutes 3 times a week. - well, I did put some thought work into how to revise and I started, but that's it.
8. Housecleaning and organization - 1 hour, 5 times a week. - mostly yes.

Next month .... I'm going to focus just on these:
1. Write 1700 words a day, average. (NaNoWriMo for Greenling Chronicles 2 rough draft)
2. Teach classes.
3. Exercise every day, include walks, dancing, kayaking.
4. Household projects: some work every day.
5. Send Thanksgiving project to betas.

Have you ever told a story out loud?

I started my creative endeavors by telling spooky stories to friends at my house as a kid. I made up stories about the dark room under the stairs (literally, a photographer's dark room), my dad's retired prosthetic legs found in the guest room closet (who knew what happened to those guests?) and the haunted painting (a dark painting of a warrior in armor that used to hang in my parents' living room). 

These days I rarely every tell or write spooky stories, but I do write fantastical stories (as in fantasy-based).
Plus, I know some authors who also write fantastical stories.

Some of them can be found here:

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!

Barnes & Noble
eBook -
Barnes & Noble

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trying something new

Have you ever tried something new, something you never really thought you would?

Many years ago, I watched a movie that involved a writer who "wrote" his books by dictating them into a voice recorder (a simple tape recorder of the 80s or early 90s) and then typing them up. Of course, there was more to the movie than just this act - it was a thriller than involved the writer somehow "knowing" all the murders his unknown, evil twin committed and writing those criminal acts into his novels. I don't remember the name of the movie and I can't remember if it was really any good, but I was fascinated by the idea of writing by voice.

However, I love writing by hand. I do. I have notebooks and journals filled up to attest to that. I have a love affair with paper and have a tough time not purchasing more journals than I need. So, why use talk to text?

1. I  had surgery many years ago on each of my arms for nerve damage from sports-related injuries. I gained back 95% of the use of my hands, arms, etc - including my sense of touch. However, I still have my clumsy-fingered moments and I'm older now. Any surgery and any scar tissue can slow us down as we age. (Okay, I'm not ancient yet but I am in my 40s and I feel it.) A really cool ergonomic keyboard helps, but it doesn't solve all the issues.

2. I slouch when I sit and this is causing neck pain and back pain. My chiropractor tells me that I have to lay backwards over an exercise ball at least twice a day for 5-10 minutes to resolve this and I need to get up and move (plus, sit up straight).

3. I just need to get up and move more. I had two surgeries this year. It's been six months since the last one and although I have to take baby steps for exercise (biking 16 miles in one day last month set me back again by three weeks), I am struggling to diet and exercise appropriately to deal with my excess weight and regain full health. Obviously, there's more to solving this than just talk-to-text, but this is one way that I have decided to tackle it.

So, I just ordered Dragon Naturally Speaking - a software program that I've heard nothing but good things about for around 20 years (I had a relative who needed it because he had MS). I will see how it goes when it gets here.

Hopefully, I don't have an unknown evil twin out there who will dictate crime thriller novels into my brain. Unless, of course, they are best-sellers ...

BTW - I will finally report back about my experiences with Duotrope in my next IWSG post.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Liebster Award

Many thanks to Tara Tyler, speculative fiction writer extraordinaire! In addition to her writing talents, her organization, her blog, and her ability to create engaging surveys leaves me in awe. Plus, she's a mom and lives a full life. Amazing lady!

She nominated me and 11 others for the Liebster Award. It's been a while since I received or passed on an award, but here goes:

Liebster Award Rules and Nominees:
Rule 1: Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
Rule 2: Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.
Rule 3: Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know)
Rule 4: Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.

Here are my answers to Tara's questions
1.     You are thrown into a favorite story. [Not your own.] Which story and who would you be?
The Chronicles of Narnia - preferably The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I would like to be Reepicheep, but when I read this book the first time, I empathized with Eustace. I really was a stubborn, temperamental, self-centered kid. I still struggle with it and totally get why Aslan had to strip him of his dragon-hide.
2.     What is the hardest part of writing for you? Why?
Usually it's Marketing and Promotion (like Tara mentioned in her post), but lately I've been having a tough time finishing fiction projects. I have written over 180,000 words on three projects in the last two years, but not finished anything to the final "end." I really want to do that again and I'm trying to push myself to do that within the next few months.
3.     When and where do you write? How did you discover that was best for you?
I prefer mid-morning or mid-afternoon in my house - either on my bed, at the dining room table or in the magical brown chair (I wrote 10,000 words once in that chair), but I will take early morning, late evening, or in the parking lot outside of a dance studio, gym, in a coffee shop, a library, anywhere if that's what I need to do.
4.     If you could be anybody or anything, who or what would you be and why?
I'm going to echo Tara here: I would be a dragon. 
A griffin, a cat, or maybe a friend of C.S. Lewis would all be good, too. 
5.     How do you push forward when the inner critic won’t shut up?
I write all that junk out in my journal or take a walk or dance around my living room or kitchen to loud music - anything from 80s music to modern pop songs my kids like.
6.     Do you need to write inside a bubble or library [like me] or do like to listen to music or other inspiring background sounds or “white” noise to write? 
I like quiet writing with some background "house" noise - family present but not talking to me (we're introverts here, so this mainly works). I like writing to soundtracks when the words are just dead. Sometimes, rarely, a song will hit me in the write way and I'll play it on repeat so the words blur into the music.
7.     How do you keep the wolves…ahem…I mean convince your children or other people to leave you alone to write? Does it work? Provide tips—please!
I write when they are busy. Since they are pretty busy most of the time, this should be easy, but it's not. I get into one activity or another and have to stop myself. 
8.     Who was your favorite author as a child? Who is your favorite author now?
Favorite? One? No. As a child: C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Frank L. Baum, and many more. Now: Jessica Day George, Tara Tyler, C. Lee Mckenzie, and many more. What I love most about this latter group of authors is that I have been able to read their work as they've grown - I can see how good they were when they started and how excellent their writing is currently. 
9.     If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why that?
It used to be flying, but right now in our current climate, it would be healing - mind, body, spirit - individually, nationally, and globally. 
10.  How do you find inspiration?
I have to echo Tara again here - it's everywhere. It's in music, on walks, when I get to kayak, when my teen daughters talk with me, when my husband tells me about his day at work, when the sun rises and sets, when I go to worship, when I read something that I agree or disagree with, when I watch tv or a movie, or read a book.
11.  What book or movie or writing workshop or blog post has affected your work the most? Why?
There are so, so many! I have been blessed.
Most recently, I came across this quote that I liked in a book that I kind of liked:
"Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."

from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

11 Nominees for the Liebster Award, for optional participation: 
Everyone reading this (yes, that's more than one)
C. Lee McKenzie, 
Christine Rains,
MJ Fifield,
Erika Beebe
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
Nick Wilford,
Krystal Jane,
Ellen at the Cynical Sailor,
Cathrina Constantine,
Chrys Fey.
These authors are exceptional at encouragement! I highly recommend you check out their blogs. 

And, I admit, I can't seem to think of anything better than the previous 11 questions, so please answer those! :)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

#IWSG October 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an exceptional group offering support and encouragement to all writers in any stage of their journeys. 
Started by the one and only Alex J. Cavanaugh.
Facebook     Twitter     Website     Blog Hop List

Show Us Your Writer Insecurity
This is a shirt and book only photo I took when the Hero Lost books came. :) 

Optional Question: When rejections feel overwhelming, what do you do to get yourself out of this negative funk? (And, oops, I chose the wrong question but ... since this is IWSG, I hope you all understand!)

This is an area of expertise for me as a short story writer. However, I don't have novel rejection experience yet so that may be different.
For short story rejections, I do these things:

1. I take a deep breath, check the story for any unknown errors, and then, if it looks the way I want it to, I search for a new market and send it out again within 24 hours of the initial rejection. (Some stories take many submissions to find a home.)

2. I go cry. Okay. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but when I read the question right - if the rejections are truly overwhelming, I think it's okay to shed a few tears. It's normal to feel the pain of having a story baby sent back unwanted.

3. I read over my list of successes. I keep it on my blog and in a desk drawer. 

4. I read some nice reviews of my previous work. I have a list of nice comments people have made that I keep handy, just in case.

5. I go for a walk. I clear my head. I dance around the living room. I pet my dog and cat, hug my family, or have a cup of tea. 

6. I read. This is my go-to place for any kind of stress. 

7. I set a timer and write anything, literally, anything. I even wrote something that might be considered romance the other day. It's only 1500 words and part of a story, but I surprised myself because I liked it enough to keep going after the timer (which only had me at 400 words). 

8. If I haven't done #1 yet, then I do that after I do #2-7.

For a bonus round of help, I read IWSG posts - sometimes old ones by other bloggers. These are especially encouraging. 

To see a random selection of pictures from my Prague trip, scroll down to my previous post on goals. There are a few pictures from London since I had a seven hour layover on my return trip.

What do you do when you face rejection?


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Writing for Profit Available Now!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this free anthology. 

From writing to publishing to marketing, the Insecure Writer's Support Group members provide tips on making money as a writer. This guide represents the spirit of the IWSG - to encourage and support writers everywhere! It is our hope that this book will benefit you as a writer, no matter where you are in the journey. 

ISBN: 9781939844453 FREE
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

The next #IWSGPit – Thursday, January 18, 2018!
 - Over three hundred agents and publishers.
So polish those manuscripts and pitches! 

The deadline for the next IWSG Anthology Contest is November 1. The genre is mystery/crime/thriller and the theme is Tick Tock. 
This is a great opportunity to see you work in a royalty-paying anthology. 

See the IWSG site for full details.

Nick Wilford, an IWSG blogger and author, has a new book out: Black&White.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Do You Have Goals? with Pictures

Do You Have Goals? is an encouraging blog hop started by Misha. 

Goals? What goals? Ohhh, those goals. 
I lost track of my goals as I ran from one project to the next, from one exciting, life opportunity to the next challenge, to one day to the next.

So, let's just put that massive list of goals on hold for now.
What I really did:
1. I prepared for my three independent contract classes for homeschool co-op and taught a bit around my trip.

2. I wrote several worksheets for grammar. These focused on verb conjugation and verbals, such as gerunds, participles, and infinitives. (In current grammar standards, it is okay to spit infinitives like all Star Trek lovers who want to boldly go ...)

3. I went to the Czech Republic via Heathrow in London. This means, I left the states at 5:30 Pacific Time on a Monday, spent a four hour layover in Heathrow on Tuesday mid-day, and then arrived in Prague on Tuesday night.

4. I got to feel like a rock star! For the first time in my life, a taxi driver from a hotel stood at the airport arrivals area with my name on a sign. I almost took a picture of him and the sign because I was so thrilled. Yes, I'm a geek, but since he seemed embarrassed at the idea, I didn't take the picture.

5. If you haven't guessed, I traveled solo. I left one day after Team USA and after most of the parents who went. This meant I toured solo most of the first day and part of the second. It challenged my perception of myself and helped me realize that I do have the ability to travel in a foreign country, figure out planes, taxis, trains, and directions without a travel buddy, and even without working data on my phone since the international data plan I thought I had didn't work for most of the trip. (My husband stayed home (again!) but if my daughter makes it next year, I will drag him with me somehow - not because I have to someone to lean on to travel but because I really want him with me.)

6. I had an awesome trip, saw amazing sights, and watched Team USA race at the Olympic Hopes Regatta for three days in Racice, Czech Republic. I highly recommend visiting Prague, Karlstejn Castle (southwest of Prague via train), and the countryside in the Czech Republic. The following pics are just a small taste of what I saw:
The Old Town Astronomical Clock - 600 Hundred Years Old and Still Ticking! 

The ceiling of a small Hussite Church that I happened upon when I was sort of lost. 

One small view from St. Charles Bridge in Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague

Part of the old section of Prague Castle - which is a working castle in other sections.

One of the armor exhibits in a small section of the Golden Lane in Prague Castle.

My daughter and her K2 partner racing in the K2 500m. (Kayak with 2 people for 500m)

Same race. They did well enough in their heat to move onto the semi-finals. They didn't make finals, but I cheered as loud as I could for the races they had! (My daughter also competed in a K1 1000m, a K1 200m, and a K4 200m for her age division of 2001 women.)

My youngest. 

7. I didn't get all the research done that I wanted, but I did do some travel journaling on my pc, in a notebook, and on my phone.

8. On the way back, I had a seven hour layover in London so I left the airport, rode Heathrow Express, rode the tube (underground), and took a short walking tour from Westminster to Buckingham Palace via Leicester Square and Picadilly Circus. In Leicester Square, they were getting ready for the red carpet premier of the second Kingsman movie ... if I just had a longer layover, I could have been a crazy fan and waited around to take pictures of Colin Firth! :) But, I just kept walking and went to Waterstones, the largest bookstore in London, instead. I made it back to Heathrow in time to go through all the security and get to my gate with 20 minutes to spare before boarding even started. It was the ideal way to spend a layover in London and I am glad I had the opportunity.

I feel like traveling changes my perceptions and broadens the horizons I allow myself to see. I gain confidence from adventures and I am incredibly thankful for the chance to see a small part of the wide world beyond my usual corner. I hope to share some more in-depth insights from specific parts of the trip in future posts. As it is, I feel like this is a bit overly long for a goals update day. (sorry)

By the way, Team USA placed seventh overall out of thirty-three countries competing at the Olympic Hopes Regatta this year. One of our female canoeists - hailing from the Seattle team - won two gold medals and a silver medal. These are the first gold and silver medals ever won by the USA at an Olympic Hopes Canoe and Kayak Regatta.
(Last year, two young women received a bronze in a C2 race.)
Points are earned for the teams by individual race medals, placement in the finals, and the number of athletes who make semi-finals. Each athlete competes in three or more races at these events with three distances - 1000m, 500m, and 200m - broken into age categories, gender categories, and then individual or small team boat categories - K1, K2, K4, C1, C2, C4. K means Kayak, C means Canoe, and the number means the number of people in the boat.
900 athletes competed from all parts of the globe.

Next month, I'll get back to regular goals.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Interview with Nick Wilford, Author of Black and White

Please welcome guest Nick Wilford!

Hi Tyrean! It’s great to be over for an interview at your lovely blog today. (It's great to have you here, Nick!)
Coffee/Tea/Writing beverage of choice?
I can’t do anything without a cup of tea! It’s a bit of an addiction, but hopefully not too bad of one. Ideally with a biscuit, but if I had too many of them I fear I wouldn’t be able to leave my writing chair.
What's your favorite part of writing? (brainstorming, world-building, plotting, rough draft, revision, finishing touches)
There’s things I like about all of these things, although plotting is probably my least favourite. I don’t start with much of a plan, my plotting usually comes in the form of trying to think my way out of an apparently intractable problem. I would have to say my favourite part is that magic moment when you realise what started out as a handful of ideas has somehow come to life, and not just in words on the page; it’s taken on a life of its own and “exists” in some indefinable sense.
What's your biggest challenge/insecurity as a writer? And, what do you do to overcome it?
Something that I feel I probably share with others – what I’m doing now, promoting my work and trying to get out there and share it with the world. I’m not an outgoing person and I don’t naturally assume that others will be interested in what I have to say. The way I deal with it is to think that I’m contributing something to the world – we could always use more books, and they won’t get noticed unless I give them a push. And getting creative with promotion and mixing it up makes it fun.
Do you have a quote or song that has inspired your writing?
I do like inspiring quotes when I read them, but I’m very bad at retaining them in my head! I’ve got a lot of songs that inspire me, but one that I tend to go back to is Radiohead’s “Lucky”. Radiohead are sometimes painted as a depressive band, but this is one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. Written from the perspective of a survivor of a plane crash, it’s about getting another chance at life. The music just soars and it always peps me up.
Why write speculative fiction? What draws you to the genre?
It’s just a genre that offers unlimited exploration – and for me, it’s mainly about what the future could hold. For me, it’s not even a genre so much as an umbrella term for lots of other ones – fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, even historical if you were going to look at alternate pasts. There’s so much scope and it’s perfect for the writer who thinks, “what if”? I’m also very inspired by what I’m reading, I’m easily led in that way if you like. Before starting blogging, I was reading a lot of thrillers so I tried writing books in that vein, but it wasn’t really my area of strength. Since meeting other writers, I’ve read so many great speculative novels, so on some unconscious level, my ideas started heading in that direction.
Thanks for these questions! I had a lot of fun answering them.

Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.
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